If ever there was a place where the fields truly were alive with music, it is Western Austria. From cowbells on the hills, to concertos from native son Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, to actual people playing actual alpenhorns, the hills teem with enough songs and sights to satisfy even the most discerning traveler.
Western Austria encompasses the high Alpine peaks of Tyrol and Vorarlberg as well as the rolling mountains of Salzburgerland and Carinthia. Nestled among the mountain tops and valleys are flush with castles of every size and style. As you make the stunning drive through the Alps it’s not difficult to stumble upon a “Burg” (military/government castle), “Schloss” (palace), or “Schlössl” (manor) in any state of ruin, repair or resplendence. There is even a bus ride up to Kehlsteinhaus, Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest above the Obersalzberg near Berchtesgaden.
Between castles are beautiful mountain villages with white walls and dark, ornate trim and flower boxes. They are the traditional “gingerbread houses” of Hansel and Grettle fame. It is not unusual to stumble upon a village festival, where you can fill yourself with bratwurst, sauerkraut, pretzels, schnitzel and beer along with local specialties influenced by German, Hungarian and Italian tradition. Knowing how to say “Bitte” (please) and “Danke” (thank you) will thrill the locals, who will be more than happy to go above and beyond to help a friendly traveler.
Outside of the grand castles and picturesque villages, there is still a lot to do and see in Western Austria. Former volcanic zones have dappled the countryside with spas (thermen) and hot springs (thermalbäder) which have spawned a whole industry around therapeutic treatment and rehab programs. They are, however, still open to everyone just looking to swim in steaming hot water any time of year.
“Therme Aqua Dome” in Längenfeld is your typical example of a modern-day Austrian spa, featuring a sauna village, a beauty farm, pools to swim in outside, and the Aqua Dome itself. Less touristy, but just as well equipped is Tauren Spa in the heart of the Hohe Tauern National Park. Tauren’s waterslides and huge indoor pools are only eclipsed by the stunning views and vistas everywhere you look.
For those who prefer a bit more adventure than hot springs, adventure also awaits beneath the mountains. Deep beneath the mountains surrounding Salzburg, you can tour the “white gold” mines in Hallein and Berchtesgaden. Ride a small mine train deep inside the salt mines (Salzkammergut) to see mines which have been in operation for over 500 years. A 36-meter long miner’s slide, a subterranean salt lake, and the famed Salt Cathedral are all just a short bus ride from Salzburg.
And if one underground excursion isn’t enough for you, be sure to check out Eisriesenwelt, the World of the Ice Giants. The largest ice cave in the world, Eisriesenwelt is a 42 km deep, natural limestone and ice cavern inside Hochkogel mountain. Even though the cave was long known to locals, it wasn’t explored until 1879 because Austrian legend had dubbed it “the entrance to hell.” Now it plays host to over 200,000 visitors between May and October every year.
Finally, no visit to Western Austria would be complete without watching a sunset over Königssee, a natural lake within the Berchtesgaden National Park. The cleanest lake in the country, only electric and human powered boats are allowed to set sail on it.
No matter what song you sing, Western Austria will provide wonderful accompaniment for your journey. Endless Travel will gladly help you set up your Alpine music debut, so contact them today!
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